September 06, 2013
Pamela Jo Davis
William Wood Funeral Home
629 East Morgan Street
Tel. (660) 882-2495
Pamela Fuser Davis, Artist and Collector, Dies at 66
Pam Davis, known for her eclectic style, talent beyond measure, inner beauty and passion for historic preservation, passed away on Sunday morning, September 1, 2013 as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
A seventh generation Missourian and lifelong resident of Boonville, Ms. Davis was a determined advocate for projects she believed would bring revitalization to the town she loved .
She was one of the first and most vocal opponents of the Union Pacific Corporation's plan to demolish the iconic MKT railroad bridge, spanning the Missouri River. A battle won after several years.
Ms. Davis renovated several downtown buildings in Boonville to their original state of grandeur and believed in the importance of this to rejuvenate the town center and pride in the town's history. "Beautiful downtown Boonville", a phrase recently spoken, is one which cannot be said without thinking of Pam.
Pamela Jo Davis was born Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1946 to Joseph Jefferson Davis and Helen Virginia (Fuser) Davis at St. Joseph Hospital in Boonville, MO.
She graduated with a BFA from the University of Kansas at the top of her art class. This experience played a good hand in her lifelong love of the arts and she remained friends with many of her contemporaries who became well-known artists.
A celebration of Pam's life will take place 7:00 pm Friday, September 6th, at Thespian Hall in Boonville.
Pam is survived by her father, Joseph Jefferson Davis; stepmother and friend of Fayette, Marsha Davis; brother, Jeff Davis of Fayette; sister, Diana Dale Davis Shallenburger of Boonville; husband Stanley Thomas of Boonville; two daughters, Yardley Wing of Boonville and Amanda Thomas of Columbia; and one grandson, Jesse Davis Moore of Columbia.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be given to Save the Katy Bridge in memory of Pam.
Eulogy by Johanna MacPherson, a dear dear friend:
When a dynamic person dies, a whole industry goes crashing to oblivion. Pamela Jo Davis was an industry. She was a legend. She was an artist. And in her time, she was the sexiest woman alive.
A small person can have a soul and heart as great as a giant, and this small woman had a soul as haunted as a love song, and a heart so loving and great, that no one could see all the breaks and bruises it carried, because the laughter reached out and took our hearts forever.
Pam Davis made Boonville, Missouri the most interesting town on the River. She knew all the byways, the stories, the rusty iron and the fine mahogany that traveled to and from this place. Her creativity was full of imaginative wonders and she had the stamina, strength and guts to put into reality her fantastic ideas. What other artist has a machine shop, and woodshop, a painting studio, and three stories worth of collected antiques and junk, useful in the work of all three? No one else could work like this woman could, up on scaffolds, sanding ceilings, swaying on ladders placing mosaics. Her refurbishing of every interesting and impossible space has spanned decades. Her homes were fascinating places full of gorgeous real things, but captivating in all the more amazing things that hung from the chandeliers she had made, and rested in the frames she collected. Everywhere were surprises and everywhere was artistry, and always there was comfort and welcome. As we all know great cooks, Pam was even better than that. In the middle of a full scale restoration, suddenly the kitchen was full of stuff she had made yesterday, delicious stuff that we raved over. Even tho she lived on snickers and mountain dew, she knew how to make homemade Baileys Cream, and I once watched her soak a bushel of lemons in vodka to make liqueur for Christmas. She could cook circles around everybody, and that was after she had poured the concrete to make her kitchen counters.
Her Story was the pioneer story. Her ancestors came to Cooper County when land was sold in sections, not in acres. Her relatives were characters themselves out of the legend of early and mid-19th century Americans. Pam herself was making their legacy live anew, in the pioneering she did in old Boonville, making homes out of the wilderness of forgotten buildings, downtown brick and lathe, and funny little rock houses nobody else could appreciate. No magazines ever found or photographed these amazing interiors, but they should have. The richness of her interior design combined with the abundance of her extraordinary artifacts was like a museum experience, full of unexpected thrills, all in a magical presentation.
Like a movie star, she was married 6 times, men loved her that much. Little boys in the town would ride their bikes over to see what Pam was up to. That hoarse laugh, that throaty chuckle, that rip of humor was a balm to everyone. Men fell under her spell, and women realized they were seeing something irresistible.
She single-handedly birthed Historic Boonville. Wall by wall, building by building, she showed the community the resources and wealth it has in fine architecture, useful places, and with her own hands and eyes it was done! No one can fail to notice Boonville's 450 houses that merit placement on the National Register, but Pam bought them, coaxed them out of implosion, and made them alive. Her efforts on behalf of the Katy Trail RR bridge are a fine tribute, maybe a public enough one, for all to see this hint of her fantastic and tremendous accomplishments.
She leaves daughters, husband, father and grandson behind, some in direct descent from her genius and some who watched it be born. Her friends, pickers, workers, tenants, suppliers, carpenters, and citizens will feel like the air has gone still, like the breezes have become weak in their message of hope and refreshment. There can be no comfort in the loss of one so important, so giving, and so necessary in showing us what life is supposed to be. Where is the person so wildly aware of all the possibilities? She is gone where we can't see, and oh, the difference to us.